A will allows a people to clearly articulate how they would like to distribute their estate in the event of their passing. Ideally, this would include specific instructions on who is selected to receive certain assets, and the value or exact details of the assets being distributed. Not having a will can be complicated for spouses and adult children.
These issues can become further complicated within blended families.
A recent article in financial magazine MoneySense highlighted the struggles one blended family faced after the passing of a parent without a valid will. Blended families tend to include second marriages, and existing children from both previous and current relationships.
The Problems That Can Arise With Blended Families
First, someone has to apply to be the estate trustee. This can create problems as adult children from previous marriages may feel just as entitled to this role as second spouses. In some cases, the court-appointed estate trustee may have to perform multiple roles – that of a trustee, and as a beneficiary, and possibly as a guardian for any minor children involved.
Afterwards, it can be hard to determine the wishes of the recently deceased. Each province has its own legislative guidelines as to how to distribute an estate when there is no will. This can become difficult in situations where the will-maker may not have any contact with children from a previous marriage, but legislative guidelines allow them an inheritance from the estate.
The Importance Of Having A Valid Will
Other considerations, such as taxes, or claims for financial support from other dependants, can also arise and create legal problems before the estate can be closed. While creating a will may not necessary avoid these types of legal issues after the passing of a loved one, it can help shed some light on what the will-maker would have wanted.
When there is a discrepancy over interpreting the will, it’s best to contact an estate lawyer to protect the interests of the estate and to protect the rights of any affected beneficiaries.